Pac-12: Can Utah upset Arizona?
Lennie Mahler | The Salt Lake Tribune
Delon Wright, Jordan Loveridge and Princeton Onwas celebrate after Wright tossed an alley-oop dunk to Onwas in the second half as the Utes led against the Colorado Buffaloes at the Huntsman Center, Saturday, March 1, 2014.
The Utah Utes have competed favorably against the Pac-12's flagship program over three seasons, but haven't actually beaten Arizona.
Could it happen today in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 tournament in Las Vegas? Ernie Kent certainly gives the Utes a chance.
"Utah's defense will cause you problems," said Kent, a Pac-12 Networks analyst and former Oregon coach. "They are going to force Arizona to shoot the ball. [The Wildcats] will not get a lot done inside. Utah's bigs are good enough to bother Arizona's bigs inside."
The Utes are "playing at a high level, they have something to prove," Kent added.
The tournament's first round produced no upsets, so the top eight teams are playing in the quarterfinals at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Here's the schedule: No. 1 Arizona vs. No. 8 Utah, 1 p.m. MDT; No. 4 California vs. No. 5 Colorado, 3:30 p.m.; No. 2 UCLA vs. No. 7 Oregon, 7 p.m.; No. 3 Arizona State vs. No. 6 Stanford, 9:30 p.m.
The games should all be competitive. Kent wants to promote the matchups, of course, but he cites some advantage to having played a first-round game.
"When you can get one out of the way, it gets the nervousness, the butterflies away and takes the pressure off of you a little bit knowing that you've got one win and can play a little freer in the second game," he said.
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